Get your tastebuds ready for Somerset’s very first Barbecue Fest, coming to Slade's Ferry Park on Sunday, May 21.

Not only will it have food trucks and fun for the entire family, but also 30 teams going head to head for the first-ever “Somerset Sizzle." The winning team will move on to compete in the largest barbecue contest in the world.

How It Started

In May of last year, Matt and Heidi Pereira entered the World Food Championships Qualifier in Jamestown called "Hogs for Heroes" and took second place for their chicken, first place for their ribs, third place for their pork and second place for their brisket.

Matt Pereira found his love of barbecuing during Covid and has been competing ever since. As a Somerset native, he wanted to bring the culture he fell in love with to his hometown, and after a year of planning, Perreira’s vision has come to life.

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Inclusive BBQ Events

“Matt called me and said his hometown wanted to do a barbecue contest, and with me living in Taunton, I felt it was a great idea,” said Kathy Trainor, organizer of Inclusive BBQ Events.

With a decline in barbecue contests in 2020, Trainor and her husband got to work on creating events that had a family focus and that gave back to the community.

“We founded a nonprofit, and we have been able to give back over $15,000 to the community over the past 18 months,” Trainor said.

When Trainor discovered that Pereira wanted to give back to the Somerset-Berkley Education Fund at his event, she was all in.

Somerset Barbecue Fest

On Sunday, May 21, Slades Ferry Park will be taken over by food trucks and family entertainment.

“There is going to be a wide range of activities for families,” Trainor said. “We are really excited.”

There is no entry fee, but get ready to splurge on local cuisine and fun entertainment.

The “Somerset Sizzle” Contest

While the Barbecue Fest is in full swing, 30 teams from around the world will be in the midst of competing for barbecue glory.

Fest-goers will witness rib-cutting and brisket-tossing action as each team puts forth its best product.

Each team will be judged on chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. Each category is then assessed for taste, tenderness and appearance by certified Kansas City BBQ officials. The winner will be entered into a lottery for a spot in the Jack Daniels World Invitational in Tennessee, otherwise known as the “holy grail of barbecue contests,” according to Pereira. The winner will also earn a spot to compete at the American Royal in Kansas City, one of the biggest barbecue contests in the world.

Come hungry and mark your calendars. Slade's Ferry Park becomes Barbecue Country on May 21.

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